Tuesday, May 6, 2008

day 5: one for the road

we took another walk to start the day. this time the nature path at her nearby park. we surprised a few bunnies, but unfortunately never did see any snakes. after the walk, we went out for some breakfast. this was a crucial decision that saved us later.

i was already packed, having gotten up waaay before the other sleepyheads in the house, and that allowed us to goof around and ride the motorcycle until it was time to leave. i haven't driven a (real, with gear shift) motorcycle in almost 9 years. in fact, i haven't driven since i earned my license endorsement two weeks before my wedding. i was a little nervous that it wouldn't come back, but those fears, like many, were needless. i went around pam's neighborhood several times and loved the feeling every bit as much as i always have. my downshifting was as jerky as ever, too.


the capper for the trip was to be blood donation. pam is terrified of needles, so it was fitting that she confront her fears as i had confronted jumping out of a plane.

we ended up taking 6 people to the blood bank. not only was i challenging pam, i felt like a successful crusader for the cause of blood altogether. we were accompanied by pam's hubby daniel, danica, danica's boyfriend chris, and jessica. chris and jess had never donated before, either.

we were working on a very tight schedule to get me to the airport in time. we made appointments, but from my experience with the Michigan red cross offices, appointments mean bugger-all. i warned the others that if the office was crowded and we couldn't get everyone finished in time, that some might have to just wait there until after i got dropped off at the airport.

fortunately, the office was empty when we arrived and we began the registration process. this was not the American Red Cross, it was an independent blood bank and they do things a little differently. apparently, people down there are so apathetic about donating, they need to bribe donors. every second donation earns you a $10 gift card to the olive garden, and all successful donors (at least that day) received a free t-shirt.

pam was in the system as a failed attempt, so they checked her iron before doing any paperwork. wouldn't you know, she was too low. she claims she 'forgot' to take iron supplements leading up to this weekend. we all gave her a really hard time. she later emphasized to me that she really was going to do it. she was going to cry, but she was going to submit to the needle. well, the others in the group assured me that they will be force-feeding her steak and potatos for the next two weeks and bringing her back to try again. i look forward to those pictures.

the iron counts on everyone else were good, in fact, we joked about how they all fell in line: danica at 43, me at 44, daniel at 45, jessica at 46, and chris at 47. daniel and danica went first, with daniel finishing probably in record time. danica didn't look real great as she finished, but she sat around for a few minutes until she felt better. by then i was hooked up, and shortly afterwards jess was, as well. she was a little bit nervous. (donating was not her idea; it was a punishment inflicted by pam for jessica's not going to school that day.) she yelped when the nurse stuck her, and when the nurse said, "it's probably just the alcohol," jessica responded, in true jessica attitude, "no, i'm pretty sure it's the needle!"

the donor room became our personal theater for awhile, as pam performed photog duties, and we laughed and harassed each other.

by the time chris got hooked up, the rest of us were done. daniel went next door to the bird store and pam, jess, and i went outside to the car. danica stayed inside with her 'baby'. after about 10 minutes, she came to the door and yelled, "chris fainted!" displaying our family's classic compassion, pam tells me to get the camera, while she and jess run back inside. when i got inside, she was taking pics of him lying on the floor (yes, she had the camera when she told me to bring it). he was put on a bed and then we noticed that suddenly jess wasn't looking too good. she had absolutely no color in her lips. so she was put on a bed.

at some point during all our hilarity, two other people had come in to donate. they were sitting in beds waiting to get hooked up when chris and jess went down. it did nothing for their confidence. we tried to make them feel better by telling them that jess and chris were first-timers, but they said they were also.

at this time, chris called out weakly, "danica passed out." right on top of chris. pam and i were getting a little antsy about the time by now, so she went over to danica to try and get her out of the building before the nurses noticed and insisted that she stay. they got as far as the lobby doorway before danica crumpled to the floor. daniel dragged her to another bed.

now more than 50% of our donors had passed out. this was not looking good for those other two people. then we realized that the kids had not had any breakfast. DOH!

at that time, though, pam and i decided to leave daniel there with the kids and head for the airport. jess was recovered enough to go, too. it was 2:50pm. my flight was scheduled to depart at 3:44pm. we were 30 minutes from the airport.

i made it just in time to be the 4th last person to board. i ended up running a little bit so i'm fortunate that i didn't pass out somewhere along the way. the takeoff was pretty rocky and i was sitting there thinking: of all the daring things i've just done, i'm gonna die on the way home.

obviously, i made it home safely. i had an exceptional time with my sister and her daughters. coty was a butthead and was hardly around. pam is already making a list of things to do next year. top of the list are the surfing and horseback riding we missed this time around. i can't wait.